Democratic leaders in the New Jersey legislature say they are “real close” to holding hearings on the legalization of adult-use cannabis, NJBIZ.com reports.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-District 3) said on Monday he has been coordinating the issue with Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-District 22), the leading cannabis advocate in New Jersey’s legislature.
Despite a complicated November schedule which includes the midterm elections, Sen. Scutari told reporters that he was eyeing November 26 for a cannabis legalization legislative hearing.
Lawmakers had initially sought to vote on the issue on Monday but hangups over taxation rates, what to do about prior cannabis convictions, and which regulatory agency would oversee the industry ultimately delayed the vote.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) — who suggested during his campaign that he wanted to see a legalization bill on his desk within 100 days of taking office — said Monday he would rather see a legalization measure “sooner than later.”
“The pen is in my hand. But it’s important to do it right.” — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, via NJBIZ.com
Meanwhile, according to a recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll, “more (New Jersey) residents favor than oppose – by a hefty margin of 58 percent to 37 percent – completely legalizing the possession and personal use of recreational marijuana.”
If successful, New Jersey would become only the second state to end cannabis prohibition via its elected officials (Vermont was first) and the first state to do so while also establishing a taxed-and-regulated cannabis marketplace. All other successful legalization efforts in the U.S. have been the results of citizen ballot initiatives.